Protein is a macronutrient, along with Carbohydrates and Fat. These three make up the basis of food, along with micronutrients, such as vitamins, and minerals. There’s plenty of talk about carbs and fats, but protein is often overlooked and misunderstood. Much of what you hear about protein is bad, with popular narratives suggesting it shorten lifespan and is harmful to the environment.
Neither of these are true, and let’s dive into some fun facts about protein. Here are five things to know about protein
Protos means “First”
Protein comes from the greek work Protos, which translates to “first.” We know that protein allows for the building blocks of life- it’s made up of amino acids and responsible for making muscles, collagen, tissues, enzymes and neurotransmitters among other things in our body. In fact, after water, our bodies are mostly protein.
Making protein the central part of every meal is staying true to the definition of Protos.
The RDA is the minimum
Optimal amounts of protein are greater than the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance). Today, the recommendation is .8 kilograms of protein for every kilogram of bodyweight. However, experts are learning and recommending far greater than that. There are many studies and experts who consider going as high as 2.5 grams of protein for every kilogram of bodyweight is optimal.
For example, a 6’1” male’s optimal weight is around 175 pounds, and should consume 210 grams of protein a day. A 5’6” woman has an optimal weight around 130 pounds and should aim for 156 grams of protein a day.
As we age we lose muscle mass, and therefore protein requirements increase with age.
Protein Dilution in our Diet
Over the last 60 years, our protein consumption has remained relatively flat, while our consumption of fats and carbs have increased by 25-50%. Unfortunately, this is largely from refined fats (oils) and refined carbs (sugar and flour), both which increase oxidative damage and increase the glycemic index substantially and chronically.
Another way to look at this is protein dilution in our diet. This trend scales linearly with our population’s rise in diabetes and chronic disease. Getting back to healthy amounts of protein will help increase overall health. The key here is that protein creates satiety, which means we eat less overall, and also contains valuable vitamins and minerals.
Animal Foods are the best source for protein
Animal foods have the most bioavailability forms of protein. Protein and micronutrients from animal sources are easily digestible and absorbed by your body. A direct correlation exists between the degree of bioavailability of protein and the requirements for humans.
They are most often complete sources of protein, meaning they have all the essential amino acids along with the non-essential. These are often found with ideal ratios of each amino acids.
Protein can be environmentally positive
At a high level, humans evolved and thrived as a species on these foods and we’re used to eating them in this manner. This is referred to as a species appropriate diet. At a more nuanced level, what the animal ate matters, too.
The quality of the intake of an animals’ diet can enhance the utilization of nutrients in humans diet. In other words, the animals we eat should also be on a species appropriate diet. This is why Superfarm only delivers pasture-raised, grass finished products.
We’ve talked a lot about the positive impacts pasture-raising animals has on the environment. Unfortunately, there is a false narrative about all animal products being harmful for the environment. While some of this is true when factoring in CAFOs, antibiotics, and unnatural feed including genetically engineered corn & soy that is sprayed with intense green house gas emitting fertilizers, this is certainly not the case with pasture raising farming practices.